Scientists discovered a hidden chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza that has lain undisturbed since 2,500 B.C. — the first such discovery since the 19th century.
Egyptologists unexpectedly found the large chamber when using particle technology to create imaging of two other known rooms, according to NPR. The chamber is approximately 100 feet long and is located above another chamber known as the Grand Gallery, according to a report from Nature. The chamber remained hidden for centuries, and while it’s anyone’s guess at this point as to what the chamber houses, Harvard University Egyptologist Peter De Manuelian said it would be unwise to speculate that it houses treasures or the corpse of a king.
“The romantic interpretation and what everyone wants to hear is that this is a hidden room and the king’s body is inside or there’s grave goods we didn’t know about or we’re going to learn more about history … and none of that is responsible speculation at the moment,” Manuelian said. “All we know is that we have a void, we have a cavity, and it’s huge, which means possibly intentional and certainly worthy of further exploration.”
Scientists are not certain whether the void constitutes multiple rooms or just one big room, but they hope to determine as much with further study and exploration. Mehdi Tayoubi of the HIP Institute in Paris told NPR that scientists used particle technology involving muons, particles created when deep space cosmic rays hit atoms in the upper atmosphere, because the method is non-destructive. The group will continue to explore non-destructive options for exploring the newfound chamber, such as sending small robot through tiny openings in the inner walls to gather more data from inside the chamber.
“I hope that, in collaboration with the Egyptian antiquities authorities, further exploration will be set in motion,” Manuelian told NPR. “The study of the pyramids has been going on for an awful long time. So any new contribution is always a welcome addition to our knowledge.”
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